The series against the Angels pretty much sums up everything I hate about the "Win" stat for pitchers. I hate it so much, I usually won't acknowledge it when determining a pitcher's worth and I use stats that pitchers actually have some kind of control over such as WHIP or K/BB rate. (For the record, I do use ERA, even though it's flawed. It generally gives an accurate feel for how well a pitcher does, as long as he pitches enough innings to make it meaningful.) I believe that teams win games; pitchers just guide the team there.
This series paints the ridiculous picture of the Win stat is.
First, let's define the Win: if you're the guy who threw the last pitch before your team took the lead for good, you get a "W". If the other team ties or goes ahead after you come out of the game, you can't get a W. Oh, and if you're a starter, you have to pitch 5 innings or more in order to earn the W, but if you're a reliever, all you need is one pitch -- as long as your timing of that one pitch is good. Getting a Loss is easy -- you cough up the baserunner that turns out to be the go-ahead run, and that go-ahead sticks, you get the L. It's not so easy to get the W; it depends so much on the rest of the team.
Take Scott Baker for example. On Friday, he pitched brilliantly, going seven innings without giving up a run and leaving the game with a 5-run lead. He must have felt pretty good about himself as he sipped his Gatorade in the bottom of the 7th -- as well he should have. And then he probably choked on that Gatorade as he watched Alex Burnett, Dusty Hughes, and Jim Hoey parade through to piss away the lead. Scott Downs, who faced two batters, got the W because he happened to throw the last pitch before the half-inning when the Angels scored their sixth run. Scott went home with a homely "No Decision" for his efforts. That's all he deserved because he couldn't get his bullpen to pitch well.
On Saturday, both Anthony Swarzak and Jered Weaver sparkled as they pitched eight and nine scoreless innings, respectively. However, neither one would take home a W, as they simply couldn't make their teammates score runs. Alex Burnett got it, because he was able to will that winning run in the 10th. Fortunately for Swarzak, his No Decision wasn't as homelys as Baker's because at least his team won. Poor Hisanori Takahashi had to wear the L, and he wasn't even on the mound when the Twins went ahead.
Then Carl Pavano was going for his 100th career W on Sunday. This was his sixth try at that golden stat. Now, to be honest, in some of those tries, he didn't pitch well enough to actually earn that W. However, on Sunday, he probably did, except he just didn't have the ability to make his fielders behind him make routine outs. If he had, well, who knows.... But, instead, he takes home another ugly L.
(Don't worry, he's not as deformed as this paper doll suggests. I'm at the lake this weekend, and I'm borrowing my nephew's computer. It only has Paint for photo editing, and only one of those lame touch pad things for a mouse. This was way harder to do than it looks. Although the Popeye forearms and lack of wrists are kind of funny.)
The Twins purchased the contract of LHP Chuck James to replace Nathan. In order to make room on the 40-man roster for James, the Twins placed Tsuyoshi Nishioka on the 60-day DL. This transaction is paperwork-only as it does not change the expected return date for Nishioka.
Matt Capps experienced some soreness in his forearm earlier in the week, but after resting a couple of days, he's fine.
Jose Mijares has been pitching in extended spring training games and could be activated Monday.
Joe Mauer is continuing to play in extended spring training games and increasing his activity. Gardy says he's doing and feeling well. As far as I know, the super-secret timetable for his return has still not been revealed.
Jim Thome needed a cortisone shot in his right shoulder that he tweaked while swinging hard on Saturday.
Francisco Liriano was pulled from Saturday's start due to shoulder soreness. According to ESPN1500's Phil Mackey, an MRI showed some inflammation and maybe a touch of tendinitis. They'll determine his status on Tuesday after his scheduled bullpen session.